Climb the Pyramid and live, laugh and love

Welcome back!

I’m sorry for not being around last week.  I have been over run with illness in my house and it seems to be hopefully at an end now thank you please!! And what do I fear the most? illness! So how have a coped? not bad at all.  I’ve surprised myself by getting on with it and being a mummy and thinking about my little ones needs and how uncomfortable she must be with all of them chicken pox.  They where everywhere.  Anyway, I am back and ready to go!

How is everyone’s mental health? Have you been looking after every area of your life? Because that’s what it takes.  You can’t just go to work, be the super parent and eat a few green beans and your done.  Life is built with many different ingredients.  You can’t bake a cake without a number of things and you cant build a life without a few crucial bits and bobs.  Life has to be worked at and nurtured in order to be a good one.  If you don’t look after yourself and keep working at it then you wont reach the places you want to go.  Lets go back to basics:

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Have you ever seen this bad boy?  This is Maslows Heirarchy of needs. Abraham Maslow.  He was a psychologist studied my many people including my fine self!! He was into the minds of people and what makes them tick.  And he wanted to understand what motivates people.  He thought that people are motivated to meet certain needs, and when that is then fulfilled we move on to the next one and so on.  His hierarchy includes five motivational needs and you can see them in the pyramid above.

This is really handy for anybody to use.  You don’t need to be qualified or work within mental health but if you can understand it then it is a good tool to use on yourself if you feel like your life is missing something out, maybe you are worried about a loved one? or possibly a good friend is showing signs of depression.  Print it off and wack it on your fridge.  Everyday without realising it as humans we are meeting needs, food for hunger, sleep for tiredness and a roof over our heads for shelter.  But of course we take them all for granted! So look at yourself and look at these five areas;

  1. Physiological needs.  These include air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex and sleep.  Are these needs being met in your life? Very basic, this is at the base of the pyramid but it is where you begin.  Are you getting fresh air, eating well, drinking water with a roof over your head and the option to pop the heating on if you get cold? Sex, are you happy and are you safe and protecting yourself? and the final one sleep.  How is your sleeping pattern and could it be better?
  2. Safety- Do you feel protection in your life, relationships, home and work? Do you feel stability and are you free from fear.  If you don’t feel safe then this will begin to chip away at you as a person.  Ask yourself why you dont feel safe and look at which area you feel this.  How can you improve this?
  3. Love and Belongings-These consist of friendships, intimacy, affection, love from work, family, friends and romantic relationships.  It is important to feel like you belong.  You don’t need to be in a relationship to belong but you must be in one of the above.  A lot of people who retire, leave jobs to be a full-time parent, house husbands and wifes etc can struggle in this area as their sense of belonging may have shifted.  Can you replace that and how? I believe its important to have a purpose to get up and showered in the morning by a certain time, whether that be for work or walking to the shop for a paper.  You must make yourself a part of society, it wont come knocking on your door.
  4. Esteem and needs -This is all about achievement.  Nothing to do with money, it’s about have you felt achievement? do you feel it on a daily basis or even a weekly basis? if not then this needs to be looked at.  An achievement for someone who struggles with life can be picking up the phone and paying a bill, tidying the house but you must feel a sense of achievement. Have you go self-respect, independence and do you feel in control of your life?
  5. Self actualization-  We are now at the top of the pyramid.  This point is all about reaching your own potential having self fulfillment, seeking professional growth and peak experiences.

remember that this is a base, it is a guide.  If you don’t ever reach self-actualization that’s ok but if you can just see your own potential as a human being then that is great.  Most people hop between 2,3&4 and then may fall back again and thats ok to.  We are not perfect.  We make mistakes, our confidence can be shaken and our houses can fall down.  But as long as you know, you will always have the ability to build it back up again.  You will always have that ability in you, you just have to look for it.  We are good eggs!!

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This time 10 years ago I honestly thought my life was over.  I was 21 living in a one bedroom flat, no money a pregnancy I didn’t want but had to get on with and no clue how I was going to survive.  We both had each other though thank god and as much as I’m not a soppy person, I can honestly say I wouldn’t be alive today if it wasnt for Paul.  I am the odd manic one that takes everything to heart and he is Mr “Let it go over your head and don’t give a shit”!! He promised me everything would be ok and it was.   As hard as I found it becoming a mum and never thinking I could ever do it or ever feel love I now feel “it”. Whatever “it” is I feel it! That little baby boy is nearly ten.  And he is the best thing that has ever happened to me, he made me live, love and laugh. And that is more important than anything.

Kate

xxxx

Go with the Flow…..

So,

Last week was the yuckiest week, it was half term and it started off with one sick child then the next day a sick hubby, the day after that a sick son and then finally me! All week we hid away with buckets and the washing machine was on overtime.  Not nice at all, but especially when you struggle with anxiety around feeling and being sick.  Normally when I’m ill and I can be in the bathroom and its in the middle of the night, the last few times its happened I have been in that much of a state I have had total irrational thoughts like “Im going to throw myself out the window” I really mean it as well at the time. I want to die in that very moment but then be alive in 24 hours time when Im well.  Being ill and feeling ill terrifies me.  I know where it comes from and why I feel like that but that doesn’t make it any better, now I just know why I am obsessional over it.  People think you need to know where the problem has come from but I don’t, the problem is there so its about facing it and just doing it.

Health anxiety comes in all shapes and forms.  But one of the most common symptoms of health anxiety is “body scanning”. The person will scan their body for symptoms, it can be anything from a stiff neck or a toothache to an unpleasant tummy and a terrible headache.  It can be anything in the body that you aren’t happy with and presents a threat.  This scanning business I believe is wanting to find something to worry about but then not wanting to find something.  If I find something, I’ll think “I knew I was right” and I will obsess over looking after myself, then the “What ifs” come into play. Body-Scanning can be done whenever and wherever you want.  So you can imagine for some people it can be utter torture, life consuming and can ruin relationships.

So what do you do when your fears happen? Well, nothing.  You just have to do it, go with it and be rational.  The difference with health anxiety and any other anxiety, is health is out of our control.   Yes you can look after yourself by eating well and keeping fit but at the end of the day if you are going to get ill then you are going to get ill. And you have to face it. But if you have a fear with spiders, dogs, certain images and anything else, you can avoid them as much as you can, within reason.  But health is out of our control.  But I was shocked last week, I didn’t panic once whilst we where all throwing up which is a first for me.  I couldn’t, I just didn’t have time.  I was washing bedding, looking after little ones and just staring into space.  It was after the sickness had stopped, my mind started to work again with the “what ifs”.  What if it comes back, what if the germs are still in the house and what if I have damaged my insides.  It all sounds so stupid I know! but its real for me and others.

Ever heard of Exposure therapy? Its a form of cognitive therapy and its about exposing yourself to what is giving you anxiety but in very small steps.  For example, if your fear is spiders, we would start really small and just put the word spider up on the wall, touch the word and talk about how you feel, then move on to a picture, hold the picture and so on.  There is a lot more to it obviously and it takes a while but by exposing yourself to the fear and realising that you survived, you are ok, nobody was hurt and it starts to slightly reduce the fear and tell your brain it isn’t such a threat.  By continuing to do this your anxiety will reduce every time.

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So well done me for not dying!!! and well done you for surviving another week!

Don’t die this week!

Love me xxxx

There wasn’t a label on your arse when you where born!

Eh up!

Happy bank holiday Monday peep’s, all well? The sun has been shining, the BBQ’s have been out and so have the legs, but thats ok.  Not everything can be great!!

So as you know my passion is “mental health”.  Mental Health consists of thousands of different conditions, reactions, lifestyles, medications and coping skills.  Seriously there is plenty, you’ll of heard of the common ones such as Stress, Depression, Anxiety, Bi-polar,  PTSD, PTS. The list goes on and on and then each of those conditions has their own reactive behaviours, shaking, self-harming, avoidance, neglecting self, sickness and dizzy spells and again there are plenty more of these.  Mental health is nothing to be ashamed of,  you don’t feel embarrassed walking round with a cast on your leg, or telling someone you have a heart condition.  Mental health is exactly the same, it isn’t a sign of weakness  its just one of those things.  When you’re suffering with lets say depression, it is very easy to get stuck into a negative cycle:

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Its as simple as this.  One big negative cycle that just goes round and round, you aren’t thinking clearly or rationally, so anything will do.  If this is left and nothing is done about it, thats when depression can really in-bed its self.   Mental health needs to be fought,  you can’t sit back and wait for it to heal or book yourself into fracture clinic in 6-8 weeks and get the plaster off.  In-fact with mental health you may never be able to take the plaster off.  Im aware that mine will always be there, hopefully most of the time tucked up in bed. The key is acceptance, accept the fact that you suffer with whatever it is your suffering with.  Don’t push it away, don’t ignore it.  I hate labels, if we where suppose to have labels then I’m sure they would of been stuck on our arse at birth! We are what we are. The good, the bad and the ugly! I am 31 year old Kate, with lots of strengths and weaknesses I am not Depression and Anxiety, they are just a part of the bigger picture.  Don’t let your weaknesses define you.  You define you.

I get the fact that not all the time we can feel positive, some days are a bag of shit, but be realistic and rational.  Will it last forever? Most probably not, remember as quick as that black feeling came, it goes.  Im not asking you to be all “happy clappy gospel” on me! But for gods sake be kinder on yourselves.  If we where supposed to suffer on our own then why is there billions of humans on the planet.  Talk to someone, do something that makes you happy and if that means cake, then do it.

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Are you a worrier or a stressful person? does being like that help in any way? if it does, great.  It must be a healthy amount that is giving you the adrenaline you need to get motivated, but if it’s a hindrance  and you’re unwell with it then take a look at the positive thinking cycle.  It’ll make you think.  Because if you think it will be a bad day, month, evening etc then you’ll feel anxious, fed up, shaky and the actions of this are avoidance.  You’ll avoid conversation, you may come across rude or angry and it just makes life harder.

Physical health is connected to mental health, so get moving more, smile more and talk whilst you walk.  I think its been about 7 months now for me having tip-top mental health! I have my anxious days but I am aware of what is happening and I take control.  Seven months ago I wanted to throw myself down the stairs and never wake up.  I was ready to walk out on the lot, husband, kids, family, friends and my home.  The feeling of depression and blackness was much stronger than the feeling of love.  The blackness hurt and ran threw me like oxygen and I just couldn’t get out of it.  But I did, and it really didn’t take long.  Just telling my mum and heading to the doctors was half of the weight lifted.

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Don’t let whatever it is that consumes you and controls you, become your identity.  Grab it by the balls and kindly tell it to “fuck off” stare it straight in the eyes and turn your life into a good one, one worth shouting about and one that makes you see at least one good thing everyday.

now go shout! I’ll catch you next week.

 

Kate x

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Chocolate and Fags help stress levels, a Birkenhead study found….

Hi all!

First of all I would like to apologise for last Monday! Utter blonde moment, I hit the delete post instead of publish……dope.  Ok, so I am back working now as you know, I started at 10 hours and all of a sudden have jumped to a 28 hour contract. Not a lot I know but with two kids a marriage and a house to keep my beady eye on its tough.  My daughter is being a super-cow, she is playing up big time because I am back at work but she’s going to have to get on with it because We like the extra cash, I need to escape and have no pleasure in being a full time mummy. I trained for years to do the job I do and I love it.  So soz Phoebe but I got to do, what I got to do.  I take my hats off to you full time working parents because I really don’t know how you do it? How do you cope? I suppose its a case of having to.  The first week of doing this I cried every night,  felt guilty every night and told myself off for going back to work and trying to make a career.  Are the kids at risk of feeling neglected? Will everyone think Im a bad mum? Is it all a bit to soon? If it is a bit to soon then thats the way it has to be.  Ive been offered a job that Ive worked damn hard for, a pension, salary and holiday and sickness pay.  Its not often they come up is it? So Thats the way it is.  I am adjusting to life, my slow cooker is on over-drive and I am so organised with uniforms and meal plans that I reckon I could be a personal assistant.

I am in such a caring job and the people I work with are super caring, so everyone is looking out for everyone so we don’t all melt at once!! I’m asked on a daily basis “are you looking after yourself?” It’s great, it reminds me that I’m not on my own as I work with other mums and dads and It forces me to relax and makes me realise how important it is to de-chill, pamper yourself and just do anything that makes me smile.  Im thinking of taking up smoking, smokers get to go outside more and the release on their face when they inhale and puff  out looks amazing! So my chill times are Saturday, Sundays and Mondays.  I love them.  I don’t do an awful lot to be honest, I just do some gardening, natter to my mate over the wall ( she lives next door, she doesn’t just knock about in the entry with a can of Strongbow!) roast dinner at mum and dads and just chill with the family.

So how are you looking after yourself? because I’m well aware there is a lot of you that just aren’t.  Everyone just seems to be on burn out? And doing this whilst eating crappy food. so get eating well you lot, if you keep putting petrol in a diesel car then eventually there will be no turning back.  Stress Seems to be going on a lot in the workplace, why don’t bosses realise that if they look after their staff then the staff will look after the customers.  My hubby is pushed and pushed and pushed, with no please, thank you’s or kiss my arse.  Just do it. He hates it, because he hasn’t been looked after.  So if work isn’t that great, look at how you can manage that.  Step down, speak to your line manager, reduce your hours or get in a union and get advice.

I read a fact the other day which I can really understand how it gets to that point is “Highly stressed women have a higher tendency for suicide, particularly working mothers who lack support and understanding for others, than most women with moderate levels of stress”.  Im lucky though, I’ve got amazing support around me and even I found juggling hard with the support.  So if you haven’t got support, then please look after yourself.  I love my job but can you imagine feeling that way and hating your job.  Not good.

Did you know that chocolate and cocoa which are rich in antioxidants have been know to reduce stress?? good hey.  But unfortunately it makes your arse swell and pants shrink!

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This is true, you can’t pour from an empty cup.  How are you supposed to give your all if you haven’t got anything to give?

Fill your cups up, take a breath and talk with your friends.

Kate x

Don’t ever break a plate…….

“Don’t confuse my bad days as a sign of weakness, these are the day’s I am fighting the hardest”

Love this, it popped up the other day on my news feed and It rang true with me.  My shitty days are the days I have to work really hard.  Making a cup of tea is hard, trying to think of something to do is hard and even thinking is hard.  So if you come across someone that is struggling and they look weak, just remember that they are fighting something damn hard.

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As a counsellor I’m coming across people on a daily basis that have no confidence and they just despise themselves because of other peoples actions.  They may of been beaten black and blue or abused but all of them say that those scars heal.  They go away but the memories don’t and the emotional abuse stays and sticks to you like a horrible gloopy glue that they can’t shift.  They would take another beating if it meant the thoughts and feelings about themselves and how they perceive the world would change.  Anger is rife.  Angry because they couldn’t stay in control of the situation they where in,  angry that they couldn’t stop it and angry that it had to be them and that they feel their life is over.  Some people say leave, walk away, just say no, hit back, stand up for yourself and the list goes on but think of the consequences that may happen and what if they are children? What would you say then? See its hard isn’t it.  It easier to build up a child with confidence and love, than it is to repair an adult.  So remember every child grows up to be an adult and every adult was once a child, so treat people the way you would want to be treated, and treat little ones right so they smile as and adult.

Let me tell you whats not ok;

  • To be humiliated in public
  • To be forced to do something you don’t want to do
  • To be told you are ugly or unattractive
  • To be told nobody will ever love you the way your husband/wife or partner does
  • To be forced to choose between your partner and your family and friends
  • To be controlled
  • To be made to feel guilty for somebody else’s anger or issues they carry.  It is their issue and not your fault.

If you can build up your own confidence, a friends confidence and just learn to say “I’m ok, I am just enough” then that is a great place to start.

Give this a thought!

Grab a plate and throw it on the ground;

Okay, done?

Yes

Did it break?

Yes

Now say sorry to it

Sorry

Did it go back to the way it was before?

No?

Get it? if you break something or someone, it will never go back to how it was before.  So look after people.  Even if you don’t understand why, just hear what that person is saying.  They feel hurt for some reason, listen to them and ask what is it you can do to help.

So lets build that confidence of yours, we all have weakness’s but we all have strengths too.  What are you good at? do you make people smile? have you got good patience?  Start to blow your own trumpet! Answer the following;

  • I like my……..because…..
  • I am an expert at…
  • I feel good about…..
  • My friends would tell you…..
  • My best personal quality is…

Visualise Success

Sit somewhere where you have total silence. Imagine a situation you have coming up for which you need more confidence, now run through that whole event through your minds eye and don’t leave out any details.  Starting with the smallest of things like the journey there, are you driving, getting the bus or walking? Don’t leave out any detail and use every sensation that you have.  What will you be hearing, feeling, smelling, tasting and touching and run through this film over and over again in your head and often as possible and prepare yourself. Don’t let your struggle become your identity.  Just be you and i’ll just be me.

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So sit back, make yourself a drink and think about what you could build on, mind, body or soul.  You choose.

Kate xxx

 

Happiness is in the small things….

What is Happy? We aren’t born happy, we don’t know what happy is when we are born, we are just mini humans that only care about the basic instincts such as food, water, air to breath and sleep.  So happiness is a feeling/behaviour that we have learnt.  If we are smiled at we smile back, if we are around people laughing its infectious like a yawn, we laugh to.

Happy is an emotional response to a positive moment, a reflection of somebody that has said something nice, done something nice, a song that brings back a memory the list goes on.  In us we all have a “baseline” my baseline is very low, small things make me happy such as a good cup of tea, seeing my plants grow, making my nan laugh or seeing the local big head wanker who is driving round in the latest BMW trip up in front of a load of school kids!! it was amazing!! you see small things!!! But some people have a higher baseline,  they see happiness as success, money, holidays. Don’t get me wrong, those things make me feel happy to but I don’t rely on them to feel good.  What if you loose all the big stuff and end up going on camping holidays or no holidays, does that mean you wont be happy? If that’s you, you should practice Mindfulness.  Be “Mindful” of that amazing slice of cake you’ve just cut yourself;

  • Taste it
  • Feel it on your tounge and your pallet
  • Feel it going down into your tummy
  • Its all about appreciating the little things and tuning out to the big stuff

What was the last little thing that made you happy? Mine is right now.  Its Sunday, I’m listening to the radio and my daughter is fast asleep next to me.  Silence is happiness!!

If you are reading this and haven’t felt happy for a while do you know why? Is there anything at all you can do to make things easier? drop a day in work? exercise more? speak to someone that may be involved and if you cant change it, if its something really bad then one of  the best things you can do it just breath and accept.  Take it all not just a day at a time but an hour at a time and go back to basics, enjoy the little things in that hour with the people that make you happy and bring the best out in you.  Life is a funny old thing but a special thing that we only get one shot at.

Being happy starts with the way you think.  Are you  a glass half empty kind of person or full? I live with a half empty person! My hubby as much as I love the bones off him, always see’s the negative, he’s the same level all the time, he looks no different to when he is excited to when he is sad! he just plods on in life and takes the rough with the smooth.  Where as me if I’m angry you know, if I am sad I cry, if I’m happy I smile the rest is obvious.  But we balance one another out, I hurt easily  and take everything to heart! And I’m like a child and get really excited and he calms me down.  But I like to think I make a lot of people happy.  The more happy you make yourself and yes you can make yourself, the less likely you are to suffer anxiety and depression.  You can’t be happy and have anxiety at the same time, you cant be happy and depressed at they same time.  They’re two different emotions.  So choose happy as much as you can.

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Think of your best possible self.  Do a visual board.  This is where you create a piece of artwork if you like filled with stuff that you want in life and that makes you happy.  So for example on mine I would  have a picture of a nice size family home,  a picture of myself, hubby and kids, a heart to represent good health, a picture of someone laughing to represent happiness,  the colour purple because everything should be purple if I was the queen, the list goes on and on.  Stick anything on that you want out of your life.  Pop it in a prominent place so you see it everyday.  If something is visual then you are more likely to achieve it.

If something is upsetting you and you feel down then maybe there is a underlying problem that may require therapy.  So go, talk to your GP and get the help you need as well as building on yourself.  Imagine how good you could feel in a few months time.  I haven’t felt my best at all this week,  I’ve been eating and drinking well, work is great we are all happy but juggling the kids is hard.  Each week having to find childcare is tough I dread it.  But it has to be done, I’m going to work, I love my job, it enables us to save for a house and it keeps me sane to feel a part of something and needed.  Not just under my roof.  But I realise sometimes the things you love need fighting for and each week I have a little battle of who to ask and what to do.  But I always get it covered and sorted so I should no not to worry.

If you don’t feel happy today, Ill try to make you smile now with some pointless facts!

  • When two otters fall asleep they hold hands! So if they float away they wont loose each other!
  • A shrimps heart is in its head!
  • A crocodile cant stick its tongue out
  • If you keep your eyes open by force when you sneeze, you could force an eyeball out!!!

If you can’t be fully happy today, just try a little bit.  Appreciate the little things and the big things are just bonus’s

Kate xxxx

Don’t ride the wave if it isn’t there

Evening all!

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Long time no see.  Sorry I haven’t been around for a few weeks, I have been a busy little bee with work, kids, life, gardening, re-vamping furniture! You name It I have done it.  So like I always say to you lot, I have listened to my body and my mind,  it is tired and needs a little TLC.  So it got it.  I’ve indulged in foods, done bugger all exercise apart from walking the legs off myself and just appreciated the little things, like my garden, cooking dinner and all sitting together around the table and listening to the kids fight over who finished their dinners first and my youngest announcing she heard dad say F**k in the car! I nearly chocked on my chicken nugget!

Mental health,  do you ever really ask yourself “how is mine?” We know how our physical health is, because we ache if we have done to much, take time off work if we have been ill, may get a headache due to stress or not eating enough food but Mental health is an odd one.   It expresses itself in funny ways, think about that person that may come across as odd, peculiar, over-powering, angry, stand-off-ish and maybe craving attention from male or females, now these people may just be utter idiots or they could be struggling themselves with an inner demon.  Its only because I work within mental health, deal with it daily and pop a tiny white pill every day that controls those chemicals in my swede that makes me think about you lot, care about you lot and drive you all mad when I see you out and ask if you really are ok and don’t ask about the kids because really as much as I love your scrumptious new smelling babies I love your minds more. I know that, that baby is being kept alive by someone that loves them unconditionally but who is loving you unconditionally?  Imagine your minds are like your bodies.  They need exercise. They need to be stretched and nurtured.  How do you stretch your mind? Well push yourself.  Give yourself a goal or target you would like to achieve within 3 months.  Mine is to drive, I’ve passed my theory test a week ago and now my driving test is booked! Its good to have something to focus on and be busy with instead of work, kids and the house.  My other goal is to go to India! soak up the culture, drown in the colours and visit the Taj Mahal.  That’s a plan a bit further away, but I will get there.  One of the hardest things I think I’ve ever done is getting through the first few years of motherhood.  I look at their baby photos and think they are just amazing but I wouldn’t go back there, didn’t enjoy that bit really I  just saw every day as another lap completed.  Now I am enjoying it, no buggy, no nappies, no nappie bag/suitcase, no night-feeds and no potty training.  Some people love that, not me.  I love this bit, the full blown conversations, them being able to tell me what’s up and not have to guess and having a laugh and doing things with them that makes them think I’m quite cool and me think the same about them!! My kids are cool and we are great friends as well as  me being Mum.  But I am only good now because my mental health is good.  God I hope it stays this way, its been a while now and I feel so normal its great! So, this week how will your mental health be? be conscious of how you feel, don’t be proud  of suffering and not telling anyone, where the point in that? To be scared shows you feel something, to be sad means you love, to be depressed means you want to care and feel love and to have anxiety means you care to much.  Its just one wave at the moment,  ride it.  it goes, don’t worry if another wave is coming.  You cant ride it if it isn’t there.  Start today, have a word with yourself and choose happy.

Lots of love……

Kate

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